Non-Fatal Strangulation Is A Predictor Of Femicide

Non-Fatal Strangulation Is A Predictor Of Femicide

Non-fatal strangulation in intimate partner violence is a powerful predictor of femicide, the main cause of premature death for women globally. A woman who has been targeted for non-fatal strangulation by a partner or family member is 750% more like to be killed by the same perpetrator.

Non-Fatal Strangulation Is A Gendered Crime

Non-fatal strangulation, also known as non-fatal asphyxiation, affects 10 times as many women as men, making it a gendered form of domestic violence. It occurs in 45% of attempted femicides.

Non-fatal strangulation and stalking are considered two of the most serious red flags of escalating aggression that can lead to femicide.

“It actually takes about 7 seconds occlusion of the blood vessels to make someone unconscious,” Gail Starr, clinical coordinator for Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).

Healthcare Workers Can Be A Lifeline For Victim-Survivors

Informed healthcare professional are often the only hope for women targeted for non-fatal strangulation by current and former intimate partner or family members. It is often overlooked as victim-survivors are often too terrified and disoriented to report the violence they are experiencing at the hands of their partners and family members.

Traces of non-fatal strangulation are only discernible in 50% of the cases. Therefore, learning to identify the signs of non-fatal strangulation is crucial in femicide prevention.

Some physical signs of non-fatal strangulation are:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Brain damage
  • Hoarse voice
  • Paralysis
  • Motor and speech disorders
  • Stroke
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence 
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Seeing dark spots
  • Tunnel vision
  • Memory loss

Non-fatal strangulation can lead to strokse as there is a risk of blood clots forming in the artery. The strokes can occur days or weeks after the act of violence occurred.

Some psychological signs of non-fatal strangulation include:

  • Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Dissociation
  • Compliance
  • Amnesia

Legislation Against Non-Fatal Strangulation

So far non-fatal strangulation has been criminalized in England and Wales, where it carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

References


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Manya Wakefield is an educator and recovery coach specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma. She is also the author of 'Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?' and host of the Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon.

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